Virginia Tech’s 53rd season in Cassell Coliseum is complete. But this season was unique in many negative ways.
- Tech had a losing record at home for just the 2nd time in the history of the Cassell, joining the 2000-01 Hokies (stokes).
- The Hokies went 1-8 in conference play, marking the first time since the 1992-93 season that Tech won just a single home conference game. The Hokies went 1-5 that season at home in the Metro Conference in Bill Foster’s 2nd year. Obviously this year sets a new mark for conference losses at home since Tech has been in the Cassell (and I believe ever — the horrible teams of the mid-1950s didn’t play enough conference games to lose 8).
- Tech averaged just 4,812 at the game per game this season:
- Reflects a 22% drop in average attendance per game from a year ago (6,202 per) and a 43% drop from two years ago, Seth’s final year.
- This was VT’s lowest mark since averaging 4,211 per game back in 2002-03, ricky “program bomb” stokes’s final season at the helm.
- The Hokies drew just 4,985 fans per ACC contest this year:
- Down 18% from a year ago
- Represents a 47% drop from two years ago, Seth’s swan song
- This was Tech’s lowest average crowd per conference home game since the 2002-03 season when Tech was still in the Big East (4,259 per Big East game)
|Season||Home Games||Avg Attendance||Avg Att Per Conf Home Game||Sellouts||Conference/ Coach|
|2013-14||18||4,812||4,985||0||ACC – JJ|
|2012-13||17||6,202||6,046||0||ACC – JJ|
|2011-12||18||8,395||9,362||4||ACC – Seth|
|2010-11||16||8,932||9,574||10||ACC – Seth|
|2009-10||19||9,272||9,844||7||ACC – Seth|
|2008-09||16||9,414||9,847||14||ACC – Seth|
|2007-08||17||9,815||9,847||14||ACC – Seth|
|2006-07||15||9,822||9,800||14||ACC – Seth|
|2005-06||17||9,763||9,846||13||ACC – Seth|
|2004-05||16||9,406||9,847||11||ACC – Seth|
|2003-04||15||6,342||7,044||0||Big East – Seth|
|2002-03||15||4,211||4,259||0||Big East – stokes|
|2001-02||15||3,501||3,778||0||Big East – stokes|
|2000-01||15||4,508||5,244||1||Big East – stokes|
|1999-00||13||4,042||3,855||0||A10 – stokes|
|1998-99||14||4,040||4,249||0||A10 – Hussey|
Smart money would say that if the Hokies stand pat this offseason, attendance will drop even lower next year in terms of season ticket sales (3,400 this year). So how can the Hokies turn their fading attendance figures around? Easy — win. Going 1-8 at home in the conference does not endear yourself to the local fans. Who wants to make the effort to go to the game or fork over money when there is an 89% chance you are going to lose? The die hards will, but that’s about it.
While better weekend conference tilts would help (like not having uva on a Tuesday night at 9 PM), that isn’t everything. Even unc on a Saturday afternoon could only draw 6,500, and trust me when I say many of them were in sissy powder blue.
Other things that I believe would help (and should happen just because it is the right thing to do) are ringing the students around the sideline on one side, not just sticking them behind one baseline; and finding ways to reward the fans that attend more (i.e. the locals, not just giving the best seats to the biggest donors who hardly ever show). While both ideas might tick off people that have those good seats now, let’s face facts — we only have 3,400 season ticket holders and that likely will drop again next year. So why not fix things now when the Cassell is largely empty and build it up from square one?
Ultimately, it is W’s that matter. If you win with Whit, they will come.
Things are bad, but it didn’t take long while crunching numbers from the ricky stokes days to see that at least it isn’t that bad (yet). Here are a few stokies:
- The Hokies drew just 3,855 fans per game in 1999-2000, their final season in the A10 and stokes’s first season at VT.
- Tech’s inaugural Big East game drew just 5,600 fans vs villanova. Note that in the Hokies’ first 6 years in the ACC, they sold all but 400 of their ACC game tickets.
- After going 2-14 in the Big East in their inaugural season, the Hokies drew just 3,501 fans per game in 2001-02, including just 3,778 per Big East game.
- Virginia Tech’s home game vs mt. st. mary’s during the 2001-02 season drew just 1,121 fans.
- stokes’s final home game, a conference game no less, drew just 3,020 vs miami.